Apple Pie on a Stick

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My awesome friend always bakes fancy things. Today was Apple Pie Pops.  That’s right people, Apple Pie on a stick. They were delicious and portable.  Best idea ever, I say.  I’m now trying to convince her to do other various pies on sticks.  I’m hoping for pumpkin!!

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Weird Food Quirks: Texture

Yes folks, that’s right…there are still a plethora of things on my list of weird food quirks.  Today’s shameful admission is food textures.  The kinds of food I will eat is severely dictated by the texture of said foods.

For example, I freaking love bananas.  The flavour of them is delicious, the smell is intoxicating and I desperately would love to be able to eat one.  However, I simply cannot.  For some reason, the texture of bananas makes me gag and I can’t swallow them without choking.  So I must appease my cravings with banana flavoured things instead.  Banana bread and muffins are the best, banana flavoured suckers come in a close second and recently, I have discovered banana flavoured Arrowroot cookies.  Delicious.

Pudding goes in the same category as bananas.  The goopy texture makes me gag and I can’t swallow it.  Jell-O, however, I’m all over.  I love Jell-O in all it’s delicious flavours.

I also don’t think food should be liquidy.  This is a problem for the consumption of soup and soup-like products.  I have, however, come up with different methods of making these foods less soup-like.  For example, with actual soup, the solution is simple.  LOTS of crackers.  So much that it then becomes soup-flavoured mush.  With things like stew, the solution is a lovely loaf of french or italian bread.  We always called it fancy bread and Mom would buy it special whenever she made stew or potato soup so we could all dip it in the soup juice (yes, I call it soup juice).   This solved the problem nicely as it would soak up the juice and leave me with the delicious and flavourful filling (noodles, veggies, meat, etc…).

Something I absolutely hate is food that mixes textures.  If the main part of a dish is a certain texture, I can’t stand biting into it and finding another texture hidden inside.  I detest when there are crunchy things inside a pasta dish.  So I put things like mushrooms and chicken into my pasta and if I end up somewhere that has crunchy veggies in it, I pick them out and eat them separately.

I will say that the boyfriend has slowly gotten me to like a little bit of cut up celery in my tuna sandwiches and I’ll eat lettuce on a burger now, but that’s as far as he has progressed in that area of trying to change my eating habits.  It’s a slow process but I think he’s determined to widen my horizons.  I, however, am perfectly happy with my narrow view of food consumption.

Weird Food Quirks: Dishes and Utensils

Now, I know that technically, dishes and utensils aren’t food and some people would argue that having quirks regarding said objects doesn’t count as a food quirk.  However, this is my blog and I’ll write however I please.  I feel that these objects are the main conveyance of my food and therefore, play an important role in it’s consumption.

Alright, first up…bowls.  I like bowls for the simple reason that I am less likely to shoot my food across the table when it is contained inside a bowl.  This does not mean that I eat things like steak or turkey dinner in a bowl, but I do prefer more than just soup to be served in one.  For instance, I always eat my pasta in a bowl.  Many a noodle has flown off a plate, flung accidentally at the unfortunate people sitting around me.  Bowls are safe…they keep your clothing stain free.  Spaghetti sauce is not your shirt’s best friend.  This has caused a few tiny arguments between the boyfriend and I, as he is a plate pasta person but likes us to eat on the same type of dish.  I don’t know the reason, I’ve never asked.  Despite his many attempts, I refuse to give up my bowl-ish ways and he always begrudgingly serves my pasta in one while he loads up his plate.

There are degrees to bowls as well.  Some are just better than others for the more liquid like foods.  For instance, soup should never be served in one of those shallow bowls with the wide brims.  They need to be served in what my mother refers to as “cereal bowls”.  Which are deeper and have no lip.  They are just all kinds of bowl.  Which is why I call them “bowly bowls”.  Much to my family’s utter confusion when I request one from the cupboard.

Moving on to utensils, I have one thing that I really dig my heels in about.  We have one fork out of all of our forks that I like.  Only one.  It’s the best fork in the entire house and I refuse to eat with anything else if I can help it.  It’s just so much better fork-wise than all the others.  It has the perfect length of prongs, they’re nice and narrow and I like the pattern on the handle because it doesn’t have rough edges that bother me when I hold it.  The problem is, the boyfriend also likes this fork.  I don’t know what his reasoning is, but I suspect it is the same as mine.  So I grab this much sought after fork at the beginning of meal preparation and I hide it until it’s time to eat.  If he takes it, I steal it off his plate.  If it’s dirty in the sink, I will wash that one single fork rather than take a clean one from the drawer.

BEST FORK EVER!!!

Cups.  In our house, there are many different kinds.  Coffee, beer pint, small, large, plastic, glass…there are a lot to choose from.  I have a few of my favourites, I’m not as particular about them as I am about the other dishes, however, there are ones that I will not use.  Thick glass cups are on the banned list for me.  They’re too heavy and big and cumbersome and no one should have to go through so much effort just to have a drink.  I don’t like coffee cups that slant.  I like the perfectly cylindrical ones that go straight up and down.  This is a safety issue.  Over there years, I have discovered that I spill hot coffee on myself far more often from a slanted cup than from a cylindrical one.

A visual warning of the danger of slanted coffee cups.

So that’s pretty much it.  There are other small things here and there.  I have my favourite bowl for popcorn or the one cookie sheet I like to use, but everyone has that.  I don’t like being served in a restaurant on plates that aren’t normally shaped because then I can’t figure out the best way to position my dish before I eat and this causes a little bit of panic, but not so much that I’ve ever freaked out in a restaurant…yet.

Weird Food Quirks – One Item at a Time

A friend of mine encouraged me to share with all of you, my weird food habits and quirks.  Of these, there are many.  Some of them have developed since I was a small child, some have changed over the years and some are just weird.

Today we start with eating one item of food at a time.  I don’t mean just grabbing one thing to eat, I’m talking about when you have a variety of food on your plate.  I will eat one item until it is finished.  Then I will select the next item and consume it in its entirety, before doing the same thing with the next until I have consumed the last one.

I don’t know when this started, but it’s been a long time and I don’t remember when I didn’t do it.  I noticed it with Chinese food first, always eating the veggies first, then the chicken and finally, the delicious noodles.

I thought it was just the Chinese food, but then I noticed that when I eat McDonalds, I have to have the fries first and then the burger.  I tried to mix it up once and it felt all wrong and I couldn’t do it.  Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner is the same.  A plate full of different items, all of them eaten one at a time, saving the stuffing for last.

A handy diagram of explanation

There are many possible explanations for this.  It could be that I don’t like to mix textures of food.  However, this doesn’t account for the fact that I love stew and it has many different items in it, though I do notice that I will only eat one item on the spoon at a time.  It could be that I don’t want to keep screwing up the flavours I have in my mouth.  If I eat one thing at a time, I can enjoy it before I move on to the next.  The most likely reason, however, is that I tend to eat my least liked food item first and finish with  my favourite.  I usually consume any vegetables before I move onto the meat portion and end with the potato/starch item (this does get switched around depending on the specific items…bacon is consumed last).  If fried mushrooms are accompanying the meal, they are the final item consumed because they’re just so damn yummy.

This may seem weird to all of you, but I will say, this is just the beginning.  As with my food, I have started with the least weird and will finish with the ultimate bizarre food quirk that I have…olives.

The Boyfriend’s Restaurant Review

The boyfriend recently wrote a Facebook note about our experiences in our local restaurants. We’re constantly on the lookout for a restaurant we both like and can visit often when we’re feeling peckish but it seems in our town, we’re cursed to really only find ones that are very average or horrible. I’m accepting of our city’s failure to provide delicious food at decent prices but the boyfriend is not. The following is his take on the restaurants we’ve visited in the last couple of years. Here and there I’ve inserted my own comments in bold when I felt it was necessary.

Is it really that hard to find a restaurant in London that is truly exceptional? Apparently so… here’s my restaurant review roundup:

NOTE: I’ve starred my personal favourites.

Archies Fish & Chips

Archies is your average fish & chips place. The food is generally good, but not exceptional. It has a friendly relaxed (casual) atmosphere.

  • Taste: Average-Decent.
  • Portions: Good.
  • Price: Average.
  • Service: Good.
  • Presentation: Average.
  • Rating: 3.5/5 (Decent).

We did the breakfast buffet on a Sunday once and it was the strangest thing to have fish products included in a breakfast buffet. However, it was surprisingly delicious.

Bernie’s Bar & Grill

Decent bar & grill.

  • Taste: Average-good.
  • Portions: Fair.
  • Price: Average-good.
  • Service: Good.
  • Presentation: Good.
  • Comments: Bernies was my favourite bar & grill for a while. Until they changed their suicide wings so they now taste more like “not even moderately spicey” wings. Also their battered mushrooms are way too greasy.
  • Rating: 3/5 (Meh).

I will say that Bernie’s has a really good spinach and artichoke dip and their potato skins are marvelous.

Big City Diner (Big City Bistro)

Located where East Town pizza use to be is a steaming pile of a restaurant which I have no idea how they stay in business.

  • Taste: Meh.
  • Portions: Small.
  • Price: Awful.
  • Service: Atrocious. People who came in AFTER me were served first, had to wait forever for a pathetically small meal that was overpriced and tasted average.
  • Presentation: Meh.
  • Comments: This is the worst dining experience I’ve ever had in London. Congratulations on being London’s crappiest restaurant.
  • Rating: 0/5 (Worst Place Ever).

This place was awful. I ordered a hamburger and sweet potato fries and the burger was dry and small and there were about twelve sweet potato fries. This lovely little (and I stress LITTLE) cost me $15.

**Coras

Amazing delicious breakfasts served with fresh fruit.

  • Taste: Excellent!
  • Portions: Large.
  • Price: Decent.
  • Service: Excellent, friendly, they keep the coffee full 🙂
  • Presentation: Beautiful.
  • Comments: Coras is hands down my favourite breakfast restaurant in London and one of the few places that I am never let down by. IMHO it may be slightly more expensive than some other breakfast places, but the quality and the service makes it worth it.
  • Rating: 5/5 (Exceptional).

I freaking love Cora’s. Their Eggs Benadictine is phenomenal and their breakfast potatoes are so tasty smothered in white cheddar, onions and ketchup. It is a little pricey but considering the quality of the food, the atmosphere and the very friendly staff, it’s totally recommended. I agree with the boyfriend. Our server from the first visit recognized us on the return trip and commented how nice our comment card was. This place it totally awesome.

Crabby Joe’s

Your average bar & grill. Generally does not disappoint, but occasionally screws up royally.

  • Taste: Generally Good.
  • Portions: Decent.
  • Price: Okay.
  • Service: Poor.
  • Presentation: Average.
  • Comments: Crabby Joes is a decent bar & grill and they have very good cheese fries (when they don’t screw them up which is about 50/50).
  • Rating: 3/5 (Average).

I have eaten several things off the menu and my favourite thus far is the spinach and artichoke dip. It’s delicious and always nice and hot. Boyfriend is right, depending on when you go and how busy it is, the service can really suck, however. Waiting forever for cheese fries that have way less than the one you ordered last time is kind of a bummer.

East Side Mario’s

Hey badda-boom-badda-meh!

  • Taste: Average:.
  • Portions: Average.
  • Price: Too much (IMHO).
  • Service: Poor-Average.
  • Presentation: Average.
  • Comments: Nothing really impressed me with East Side Mario’s. It’s pasta, it’s priced average to somewhat high, there’s better options.
  • Rating: 2/5 (Sucks).

I kind of have a little soft spot for East Side’s because I worked there as a host for a year when I was in school. I had great times with fun people, and I definitely had my favourite dishes to eat (Mario’s potatoes…mmmmmm). However, having gone back since and seeing that they changed the menu and the way they prepare some of my fave foods, I haven’t been back since then. I think it’s become a nostalgia place.

Golden Griddle

Relaxed casual atmosphere, attentive friendly waiters, large portions, breakfast buffet.

  • Taste: Average.
  • Portions: Large.
  • Price: Average.
  • Service: Great.
  • Presentation: Average.
  • Comments: Golden Griddle was my favourite breakfast place until I discovered Coras. It’s still not bad. I’ve never had bad service there and you get large portions for average prices. However, I’ve often had my food served luke-warm such that it gets cold while I’m eating it.
  • Rating: 3.5/5 (Decent).

I like this place, but honestly, it’s on the other side of town and we can get to Cora’s much faster when we have a hankering for breakfast food. Mmmm….breakfast food…

Jack Astor’s

Yet another average bar & grill.

  • Taste: Okay.
  • Portions: Average.
  • Price: Average-Slightly high.
  • Service: Average.
  • Presentation: Decent.
  • Rating: 2.5/5 (Meh).

This place is one of my personal favourites to actually visit with my friends from work at lunch for their lunch specials. They’re so damn good…especially with a beer.

**The Keg

Quality steak, pricey but delicious.

  • Taste: Excellent.
  • Portions: Very good.
  • Price: Very High 😦
  • Service: Excellent.
  • Presentation: Great.
  • Comments: The Keg is the only place I’ve had steak that didn’t disappoint me. However, you get what you paid for so prepare to have your wallet emptied.
  • Rating: 4/5 (Great, only -1 because of the price).

The Keg rocks…that is all.

Kelsey’s

The epitome of mediocre. If you love bland & average you’ll love Kelseys.

  • Taste: Average.
  • Portions: Average.
  • Price: Average-Meh.
  • Service: Average.
  • Presentation: Average-Meh.
  • Rating: 2.5/5 (Meh).

I used to be a total spaz for the balssalmic chicken penne…but again, they changed the recipe and now i just don’t care. I also rate it a meh.

Mandarin Chinese Buffet

For the cost to get in, I’d expect food with flavor!

  • Taste: Bland, bland bland.
  • Portions: N/A (buffet).
  • Price: High.
  • Service: N/A (buffet).
  • Presentation: Well, the buffet is nicely presented.
  • Comments: The Mandarin is grossly overrated. Everything is bland. Learn 2 spice.
  • Rating: 2.5/5 (Meh).

Nuts to the boyfriend, I love this place. Of course, he always says I like bland food. Personally I think he only likes food that so hot he can’t really taste the food.

Montana’s Cookhouse

Average American style cuisine (Steaks, Burgers, etc.).

  • Taste: Okay.
  • Portions: Average.
  • Price: Meh.
  • Service: Awful-poor. Waited over an hour for my steak which was overdone and child-size.
  • Presentation: Average.
  • Rating: 2/4 (Sucks).

Boo, they removed the Jack Daniel’s glazed salmon from the menu. I disapprove. Also, the moose and deer heads from the commercials kind of creep me out. Though we went there for a work birthday once and the birthday girl had to wear giant moose antlers while they sang…so that was pretty awesome.

A happy birthday was had indeed

Milestones

Fancy restaurant, popular, expensive at least the food was good.

  • Taste: Good.
  • Portions: Somewhat small.
  • Price: High.
  • Service: Average.
  • Presentation: Excellent.
  • Comments: Milestones is a decent place go if you’re looking for something fancy and not necessarily concerned about price and/or getting full. Also, having to wait with a beeper to get in sucked!
  • Rating: 3/5 (Okay).

Freaking expensive and a little too trendy for my tastes, but the food was delicious. We didn’t have to wait very long with the beeper, it was not a travesty of epic proportions in the least. I had a gift card from work for Administrative Professional’s Day, so that’s why we tried it out.

Smoke N Bones

Southern style chicken & ribs cooked in a smoker.

  • Taste: Okay.
  • Portions: Small-Average.
  • Price: Meh.
  • Service: Poor-Average. Never asked if I wanted a refill.
  • Presentation: Average.
  • Comments: They have four of their own bbq sauces, but none of them are hotsauce? (wtf?) They were out of ribs when I went there which is what 90% of their menu contains.
  • Rating: 2.5/5 (Meh).

I don’t like spicy food…at all. I don’t really like southern cooking and they were out of ribs. So this pretty much sucked for me.

Smoke’s Poutinerie

All poutine, all the time.

  • Taste: Fail, how can you be an all poutine place with awful gravy?
  • Portions: Large.
  • Price: Decent.5196702353
  • Service: N/A
  • Presentation: It’s poutine!
  • Comments: Thrilled at the chance to try bacon on poutine I rushed to this place only to discover they have possibly the worst poutine gravy I’ve ever had and really if that’s all you serve, screwing it up is an epic fail.
  • Rating: 1/5 (Fail).

Contrary to popular belief, bacon does not make all things better. I thought I was going to throw up after about six bites of this. I gave all my bacon to the boyfriend and I still didn’t really enjoy the poutine.

Spaghetti Eddie’s

It’s pasta, what more do you expect!?

  • Taste: It’s spaghetti.
  • Portions: I expected more considering how dirt cheap it is to make spaghetti.
  • Price: Spaghetti is so cheap/easy to make there should’ve been more of it.
  • Service: Good.
  • Presentation: Good.
  • Comments: This place has a very unique atmosphere to it, but it’s cramped and for the cost I expected a lot more spaghetti. IMHO if you want pasta stay at home and make it, you’ll get 3x the amount (leftovers yay!) for half the price.
  • Rating: 2.5/5 (Meh).

Boyfriend is right, pasta is pasta and if you’re going to specialize in it, it should be better than this was. It was too expensive for what we got.

**The Symposium Cafe

Relaxed environment (comfy chairs!), friendly attentive service, high quality yummy food.

  • Taste: Excellent.
  • Portions: Good.
  • Price: Good.
  • Service: Good.
  • Presentation: Good.
  • Comments: I’ve only ate here once, but was very impressed. Look forward to going again. It seems to me like the perfect place for lunch.
  • Rating: 4.5/5 (Very Good!).

I loved this place.  Their desserts are amazing….I had the cheesecake and it was so delicious.

**Tiger Jacks

Tacky atmosphere, good food with decent prices and good weekly specials. I love the atmosphere. There are stuffed tigers, tiger paintings and all kinds of the same all over the place. On Halloween, they dressed the tigers up. It was awesome.

  • Taste: Good-Very good.
  • Portions: Good.
  • Price: Fair.
  • Service: Good.
  • Presentation: Average-Good.
  • Comments: I’ve been to Tiger Jacks 3-4 times so far and they haven’t really let me down. The steak was kinda small, but the ribs and pizza were delicious.
  • Rating: 4/5 (Good).

I love the food here. The prices are decent and I’ve never been disappointed. The ribs were amazing and their ceasar salad is freaking awesome.
So there you have it.  We keep trying new places but most of them fail to provide what we’re looking for.  Also, I’m not really completely sure what we’re looking for at all, so that really doesn’t help.  I think we’re looking for huge helpings of delicious food at prices that don’t kill my bank account.  I’m starting to think that this may not really exist.  If anyone from around here has any suggestions of where to eat, let me know and we’ll check them out.

Death of a Squirrel

I love chocolate covered coffee beans.  I love coffee in general but those delicious little beans covered in chocolate are a treasured item that I only get once in a while.  One bag of them at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory costs almost $10.  So you can imagine that I hoard these delicious little beans whenever I get my hands on them.

Someone bought me a bag of them a few years ago and I took them to work, keeping myself caffeinated throughout the week and thoroughly enjoying my gift.  Then Friday rolled around and I pondered taking my treat home but decided against it, twisting the bag closed and leaving them on my desk.

I don’t remember what my weekend was like at all, I suppose it was probably your average weekend.  I’m sure television was watched, I probably ate some food, I might have gone to a movie.  This is beside the point.  The focus of this post is what happened on Monday morning.

I arrived at work and was the first one on my floor.  I put my purse down, I grabbed a coffee, I did the general morning routine.  Then I went to boot up my computer.  I frowned because something was off…askew if you will.  I concentrated on my desk for a bit before I noticed that there were bits of coffee beans all over the chair and the floor and there were little, chocolate footprints across my desk and the scanner I worked with every day.  Upon further investigation, I discovered the remains of the plastic bag they had once been contained in on the floor.

I was still standing there in confusion, knowing the footprints were too big for a mouse, when a co-worker arrived and suddenly commented that something had eaten half the apple she’d left on her desk.

The Half Eaten Apple

We both stood there pondering the situation until we heard a sound that lead to the revelation of the entire situation.  Another coworker had arrived and discovered the culprit.  A squirrel had somehow made it in through the attic.  It had quite the time over the weekend…more memorable than me apparently.  He ate a little apple and scurried around and the little bastard found my precious chocolate covered coffee beans and nibbled them all up.  He devoured the deliciousness and partied by himself all weekend.

As sometimes might happen, the squirrel partied a little too hard.  The coffee beans were too much for his little body and we found him on a spare desk chair, having tried to get out of the window and given up, passing away on someone’s empty laptop bag.  It was rather a sad scene.  We disposed of the little guy and from then on, I always put snacks away in the drawer overnight…just in case.

Also, never feed a squirrel chocolate covered coffee beans.  Just don’t do it.

The scene of the crime